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Old 26. Mar 2013, 03:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Files have disappeared...all 190 gig

My external hard drive came from my previous computer. It still has 150 gig of files and folders on it, plus, today I copied about 10 gig of files/folders to it in preparation of installing Win 7.

Everything was working great until I took the drive over to my wife's computer. I need to back up her stuff as well. I got busy and needed the external drive. I simply unplugged it from her computer and brought it back to my office and again hooked it up to my computer.

I don't know what happened but when I looked for the files on the drive, they are all gone. The folders are all there but no files. By just unplugging the drive from her computer, without going thru the "safely remove hardware" routine, could that have caused the file disappearance?

Whatever the cause, I really need to recover those files. I tried one file recovery program but it couldn't see the drive. My computer sees the drive just fine.

What is the best file recovery program to use for this job? Appreciate your thoughts.

tbone
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Old 26. Mar 2013, 09:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It is quite a possibility that not removing the drive safely may have caused problems. But, I would suggest you to try hooking the drive on different computers to see if the files are detected. Maybe they will. If they still aren't, then maybe you should go for a data recovery program.

The programs can be found here:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best...te-utility.htm

Recuva is a good one, easy to use, and works great.
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Old 26. Mar 2013, 10:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Don't know why, but I turned the drive on this morning and all the files are back. Appreciate your input. It appears all the free file recovery programs have a 1 gb or less limit.

This is interesting for what it's worth...I volunteer in a computer lab where we refurbish and rejuvinate older computers, which are then donated to schools in the US and around the world. A fellow volunteer last week said, "when using XP, you can get away with unplugging a USB drive without using the "safe to remove' feature probably 9 times out of 10. That 10th time may just jump up and bite you in the ass. Amen.
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Old 26. Mar 2013, 11:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Glad to know the files are back. These electronic things can work strangely sometimes.

Well, in the review, only the top choice, and another honorable mention are having the 1 GB limit. Recuva, which I mentioned, does not have any such limit.

People say different things, not all are true. The volunteer was wrong. The safely remove feature is there for a reason. Many times yes, the drive may get away without any problems if you do not safely remove... but it's always good to be careful. Specially, shouldn't take chances with such huge amount of important data. It doesn't take much to be careful, just a few seconds .
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Old 26. Mar 2013, 02:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, I spoke too soon. The file NAMES are back but there's nothing behind the name. I havn't been able to get one file, .exe or text or any other type, to actually boot. All kinds of error messages, all seem to be different. Think I should still run Recuva?
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Old 26. Mar 2013, 03:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sadly you may be experiencing hardware problems with your external HDD.
Malfunction of the controller could be causing corruption of the HDD leading to lost files (not uncommon).

I would do an internet search looking for problems related to the specific model you have, to see if it's a commonly reported fault. In the meantime, it would be wise to recover any files you can from the drive asap in case the situation worsens.
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Old 28. Mar 2013, 01:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That is quite a strange behavior. Did you check it on different computers?

What Sope says might be true, unfortunately. Please do as he advised.
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Old 29. Mar 2013, 12:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't know what to think. This is the strangest computer event I've ever been thru. Today, everything on the drive appears to be back to normal. I can see and boot programs, read file documents. Everything seems to be there...not just half or so, like few days ago. Whether this will be the case tomorrow remains to be seen. I don't want to count on it.

It seems as tho something is gradually fixing or correcting whatever was wrong. I don't know. I've been messing around with computers for 30 years. They never cease to amaze and frustrate me. Appreciate your input.
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Old 29. Mar 2013, 04:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Good to know tboneman2 . This is on the same computer, or is it on a different computer?

If the drive is working fine, I will suggest that please take backup of the important files somewhere else too, so that in case the drive starts behaving strangely again, or if its controller is developing problems as Sope said, then the data is atleast safe.

If you can afford it, maybe buy another drive.
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Old 29. Mar 2013, 04:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just out of curiosity what type of external HDD do you have? I have a Western Digital which also began acting oddly after installing Win7.
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